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Jesus Says "Me Too"

Entry 1913, on 2018-05-02 at 12:29:49 (Rating 4, Religion)

As any regular readers of my blog will clearly know by now, I am no great fan of political correctness. I do need to emphasise that the phenomenon of PC is often linked to genuine issues which we all should be dedicated to resolving, but it is the mechanism of political correctness: the concept creep, the unquestioning adherence, the simplistic generalisations, and the tribalism, which is the problem.

So often giving a social issue the old PC treatment just reduces it to a farce, and while the people who love PC for its own sake (such as our old friends, the social justice warriors) thrive on it, they really just become an increasing isolated minority group making more and more noise about something no one else really cares that much about.

And so we have the "Me Too" movement. Undoubtedly there are times when women (and some men) have been treated badly, and this might occasionally extend to illegal sexual abuse and rape, but the Me Too movement encourages everyone to jump on the bandwagon and trivialises the whole thing.

As I said, I am sure there are genuine cases where people have been real victims, but I am equally sure there are many cases where people have seen this as simply a way to gain some fleeting fame, to feel the inclusivity of being part of a group they perceive as being persecuted, or just to simply jump on board the latest PC sideshow and virtue signal to their friends within the same sad echo chamber they exist in.

So when I hear someone proclaiming "Me Too" I wonder whether what they are really saying is "yes, let me be part of the latest trendy leftist fad too". Let me say again, before I am criticised as a misogynist, or a privileged white male, or whatever else the latest trendy insult is, I fully accept there are real issues here, and the original purpose of Me Too might have been quite genuine, but it doesn't seem that way any more.

To demonstrate how truly ridiculous this has become, I just heard that a theologian has claimed that Jesus was also subject to sexual abuse, and therefore deserves to be part of Me Too. This really does seem like an extreme case of everyone wanting to get on the old PC bandwagon. Actually, when I say "everyone" I really mean just those who subscribe to the victim mentality the politically correct left love to inflict on society as a whole.

So here's the argument: in Mark 15 16-24 the crucifixion of Jesus is described. Here's what it says, according to the NIV (which uses plain English and best suits the style of this blog). If you prefer other versions of the Bible feel free to look up parallel translations. You might also be interested to read the other gospel writers slightly contradictory accounts...

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.
17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
18 And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!"
19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means "the place of the skull").
23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

Apparently this describes a case of sexual abuse, where Jesus was stripped three times. Your interpretation of the text may vary. But so what? Clearly this actually describes a hideous torture that no one should have been subjected to, yet many people were. Some imagined connection to Me Too just seems so obviously self-serving that I find it quite insulting, even as a non-Christian.

Christianity has a history of invoking a sentiment of persecution which has been used as an element of bonding for its members. If you are a Christian and you know you are being repressed by another group it tightens the bonds within the group and makes it stronger. If the originator or your religion was persecuted then the effect is even stronger.

Now it might make sense for a modern Christian theologian to reinforce that feeling of repression by latching on to its modern equivalent: the Me Too movement. Yeah, that's a nice try, but I doubt whether there will be many takers on that one. After all, Christianity is the most dominant religion in the world, so just like all the other dominant groups (whites, males, Americans) it cannot be allowed into the exclusive club of the downtrodden.

What a world we live in. A serious academic thinks Jesus was the victim of sexual abuse. But wait, since Jesus was from the Middle East, maybe his skin tone was quite a bit darker than most portrayals show. I think I see an opportunity here: hey Romans, don't kill Jesus: Black Lives Matter!

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Comment 1 (4907) by Anonymous on 2018-05-03 at 15:26:37:

Well, you have set a new low, now you have offended both religious people and the progressive left. You must be so proud!

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Comment 2 (4908) by OJB on 2018-05-03 at 16:12:03:

Not sure who I have offended. I don't generally worry about that sort of thing too much. I just say what I think is true and what I think is morally right. If people find that offensive then that is their problem, not mine.

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Comment 3 (4947) by richard on 2018-09-26 at 13:32:42:

Hi Owen - been a while. Totally agree with your comment 2. No real offence there - for Christians at least. #Metoo - What a ridiculous claim by that theologian. Ha ha.

I'd be interested in clarification around your 'Christianity has a history of invoking a sentiment of persecution' claim though. You mean persecution is being claimed where none happened? And of course if that's even true, (examples?) you mean Christians have a history of doing that, not 'Christianity' - which can only really be defined by original NT records, all of which appear to document examples of persecution that actually happened. Even then, I don't see any real examples of 'victim mentality' in those accounts. Simple reporting is all.

And of course, depending on your chosen definition of 'contradictory', there aren't any serious contradictions in the different accounts, that aren't simply attributed to the different (honest) points of view as expressed by the writers. In the same way that witnesses always provide different accounts of the same very real event. As you rightly said - 'slightly contradictory' - which poses no problem to the historical reliability of the event itself, in all ways that are important. Apparent 'contradictions' have all been well dealt with over the last 2000 years. And bear in mind - the first few years after publishing would have been the most critical for any such issues - if they posed any problem at all, they'd have been corrected by now. Rather - it actually makes the accounts more reliable. Cheers.

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Comment 4 (4948) by OJB on 2018-09-27 at 11:11:28:

I think the problem with a lot of social science, philosophy, and theology is that they only do the first step of what any reasonable investigation would take. In *real* science, there is a hypothesis which might seem valid but isn't really given too much credence until it is tested and everyone tries really hard to discredit it. In many other fields that doesn't often happen.

So people dream up these explanations of an event or phenomenon but don't bother doing the real work of testing them. In this case it would be fair to ask: what would the events portrayed look like if just the general behaviour of the time occurred without any sexual component. I suspect it would be pretty much the same, but we would need to investigate it to find out.

Regarding the other, peripheral, points. We are getting into semantics here. I define Christianity as the beliefs and behaviour of Christians. What the NT records say is largely irrelevant since the religion has evolved since they were written, and they are hugely open to interpretation anyway (as should be obvious bu the huge number of Christian sects with opposing views). Surely a victim mentality is central to Christian doctrine since even the central figure was persecuted and that is a key theme of the religion (John 3:16, etc).

Regarding the contradictions, whether they would be expected or not is not that relevant, the fact is they existed despite the rather feeble attempts at post hoc rationalisation we see today.

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Comment 5 (4949) by OJB on 2018-09-27 at 11:48:53:

And welcome back! I appreciate your input.

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